After the election: an aim to make law better

The purpose of Parliament is to write laws and supervise those who administer them. The purpose of laws is to change behaviour. But do they change behaviour in the way intended? The short answer: no one really knows. Last week’s … Continue reading

The crowded field of would-be kingmakers

Journalists’ ideal result for New Zealand First on September 20 is 5.01 per cent in the party vote on the night, with the balance of power, and 4.98 per cent in the final count two weeks later. If New Zealand … Continue reading

The toughest issue for the next term

Two senior cabinet figures talked international affairs last Wednesday, one all crisp intellect, one a conversational amble. No prize for guessing which was Tim Groser and which John Key. Both made the optimists’ trade case, Groser with a wide span … Continue reading

Labour’s big (self-)education job ahead

A long shadow will encroach on the Labour party’s pre-election “congress” this weekend: a Green shadow. There will be shorter shadows, too. The short shadows are a faltering leadership, bad polls and a spectre looming out of history and off … Continue reading

A weekend for the strong, regenerating party

The next two weekends will contrast the strong and the weak. The weak will be Labour on July 5-6. The strong will be National this coming weekend. National’s strategy this term was to generate “results”. And it has, including roads, … Continue reading

Turning problem into opportunity and ambition

Opportunity or omen? John Key will meet United States President Barack Obama on June 20 United States time, 11 days after a seismic shock in Iraq — and, coincidentally, eight days before the 100th anniversary of Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of … Continue reading

Cheap money, Graeme Wheeler and an exhumed idea

In the big rich world money is ultra-cheap. Here the Reserve Bank kept its official cash rate (OCR) at an emergency low for three years until March. One result has been house price inflation which has been bothering Graeme Wheeler. … Continue reading

The demand side politics of affordable houses

One thing Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First — and even the Internet Mana shack-up — can agree on is that too many can’t afford to buy a house right now. National agrees, too. The four bigger parties also … Continue reading

A Green challenge: global inconsistencies

If there is a “peace” party in Parliament, it is the Greens, even though Keith Locke has left politics. So it was logical Kennedy Graham questioned John Key last week on killing people with remote-control drones. Graham asked Key if … Continue reading

The China factor in English’s bright new world

Bill English’s sixth budget was an election-year budget in three respects. First, it doled out some cash, mainly to take gloss off opposition parties’ election promises and medicate some itches. This doesn’t compare with Labour’s 2005 middle class welfare splash, … Continue reading